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Poster: mid-maine Date: May 9, 2007 6:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-31-81

funny, i'd been thinking about posting a review of this show the other day, then thought, ah come on, everyone's already heard everything about it!

i appreciate purple gel's perspective (not to mention my being envious of his touring career). this show, though i didn't get to see the boyz until '82, has always been one of my favorites. i got my first tapes of it in '86 or '87. it has been printed on my memory ever since.

what i wanted to post about was the playin'->terrapin->playin'. imho, this is the most unique playin' there is. somehow, jerry picks up this theme that is unlike anything i've ever heard him play before or since. ok, i've not listened to EVERY dead show out there, but i've scanned many. i'm deeply familiar with each phase of their career, and this still stands out as a unique highlight.

shortly after the noodly playin' lick that leads into its jam, jerry picks up on this phrase that sounds like some egyptian-yet-jazz quote. he digs it deeply and this leads the jam into a completely unique zone. it begins on the low end of his fret board, and only later does he bring it up to the higher notes, repeating it as a coda here and there. in a few places, just when you think the jam is about to fall apart, jerry plucks out this refrain, or the suggestion of it, and the jam takes right back off.

the result is the dreamiest playin' ever. yes, there are those '74 monster meltdowns -- oakland, jersey city, seattle to name a few -- but they all share similar themes. in fact, mike dolgushkin refers to those '74 melt downs as "tigers," and i know exactly what he means. this 12-31-81 jam is far more sinuous, sonorous and snake charming unique. beyond being a real keeper, it warrants description from someone who has better mastery of the english language than i do.

toward the end, right before the playin' jam drops into terrapin, brent makes a nice little dark star nod (@11mins). perfect. then the terrapin is stellar, the storyteller jam wending its way around the dreamier corners of consciousness. after the final terrapin crescendo, the boyz click right back into the playin' jam. it is a breathtaking transition. they jump right back into the eroding astral fray.

once the final verse is sung, clearly and with gusto from bob and brent, jerry trills an impressive finish. this playin' is closed as only first set playin's of '73 and '74 close. there is no other equal in the 80s. jerry fully explores the country twang and gushes all the right notes. ok, there's an ooooch-ouch sour note once or twice, but who cares. this is hot stuff. if you're not careful, you might even miss it.

recommendation for playin'->terrapin->playin'?

play loudly in dimly lit environment. it will embrace every corner of the room.

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Poster: Purple Gel Date: May 9, 2007 7:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-31-81

Hey Mid-Maine

I couldn't agree with you more, this is one of the most unique and awesome Playin's out there. I've listened to it a thousand times and never noticed the little Brent DS tease until you mentioned it. Just goes to show you don't ever know, there are always little things to discover in Dead jams, even when you think you know it by heart!!! I love discovering little details like that, thanks for pointing it out.

I was wondering if you noticed Bobby's tease? There's a Bobby Dark Star tease at the very end of Playin. It's right at 14:23 about 4 seconds before the opening chords of Terrrapin, Bobby teases the intro to DS, a little hint of things to come perhaps. :)-

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Poster: mid-maine Date: May 10, 2007 10:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 12-31-81

yeah. gel, i call those little surprises the layers within layers. it's how i can listen to the uncle john's -----> morning dew segment of 10-12-84 again and again. there's always a new texture or surprise in the fabric.

as far as the bob dark star quote, i know that little phrase of which you speak. i always sensed he was referencing brent's cue. this little nudges seemed aimed at jerry. it made me wonder about their off-stage huddles. had someone suggested they dust it off that night? was it a wedding gift for someone? or, were bob and brent simply seeing the possibility in the air that night?

mickey once said that they'd huddle to determine the tone and tenor of drumz and space segments -- maybe that monster march '86 phili space->morning dew was in reference to lybian conflict and tensions????

anywho, was dark star in the works? were bob and brent looking for the opening? no matter how it got off the ground, they were flying that new year's.

gel, you got to witness a serious gem!